Public knowledge, awareness, and perceptions of the association between skin aging and smoking

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999 Jul;41(1):27-30. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(99)70401-9.


Background: Although the tobacco industry promotes images of glamour, 2 decades of epidemiologic research have concluded the opposite: smokers have enhanced facial aging and skin wrinkling compared with nonsmokers.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to obtain information on the public's awareness of the association between cigarette smoking and skin aging.

Methods: In the spring of 1994, the Maine-wide Cooperative Telephone Survey conducted telephone interviews in 678 randomly selected, nonseasonal dwelling units in Maine. From each dwelling unit, one randomly selected adult resident was interviewed to assess awareness of the association of skin aging with smoking.

Results: Fifty-eight percent of those persons interviewed had smoked at least 100 cigarettes, and among them, 24% were current smokers (28% men, 21% women). After adjusting for sex, age, and education, current smokers remained less likely to be aware of this association compared with former (prevalence ratio, 0.78; 95% confidence interval, 0.64-0.95) and never smokers (prevalence ratio, 0.87; 95% confidence interval, 0.70-1.07). However, nearly one fourth of smokers in this study believed that most or some smokers would consider this information in their decision to quit, with slightly higher findings in young smokers.

Conclusion: These findings are of public health importance. While strategies for framing messages about the association between smoking and facial aging await further study, this association deserves to be considered in all tobacco control and counter-advertising campaigns.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Data Collection
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Random Allocation
  • Skin Aging*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*